Police officers are in short supply these days. Or should I say good ones.
Thanks to all the “free money” from President Clinton's Cops Grant Program many of our small towns increased their police departments in the late 90's at the expense of quality. In my town when I was a selectman I interviewed about twenty five applicants over three years. It is scary how many totally unqualified people show up for these revolving door jobs on small departments.
I once interviewed and voted to hire onto our department, as a part-timer, a young man who was already employed as a prison guard in Concord. The information you get during the process is limited and many times any bad information about the applicant is hidden from elected officials. This happened to me several times. One applicant had just been arrested in Barnstable Ma. for giving alcohol to a minor but our police chief who knew about the arrest failed to let me in on this interesting detail.
In the case of our potential part-timer from the Concord Prison, I found out from a law firm in Ma. that our guy had an assault arrest scrubbed from the District Court in Concord. I had the docket number but they claimed at the courthouse no such number existed - even though the number before and after it did exist. (See how this works.) I found this out after our officer was hired by my town and after he dragged a friend of mine, a local resident who was a 44 year old father of 8, out of his car for not showing a drivers license. My friend died of a heart attack on the road without the officer calling for medical help because he thought he was “faking it.”
So now I pay close attention to interesting cases of police officers who show signs of being problems in the future. I suggest taxpayers should do the same in their towns.
Here is a noteworthy situation.
Twenty four year old Aaron DeBoisbriand of Milford is looking to continue his police career after sliding past a sticky situation or two recently in Jaffrey.
After making it past his hiring in August of 2004 all the way to November 4, 2005, young Aaron was charged with reckless operation for driving 93 miles an hour in a 50 mph zone on his way to assist in a traffic stop in the neighboring town of Rindge.
But to the rescue comes Judge Phillip Runyon III who on May 12, 2006 ruled that speed alone was not sufficient to warrant a charge of reckless driving. Lucky Aaron!
And then there was the “phone call.”
During Aaron's trial for reckless driving a charge of witness tampering pops up. A fellow Jaffrey police officer claims he was called by young Aaron and asked to not show up for court. The officer even specified the date of the call but a jury found no evidence of witness tampering and now Aaron is free to resume his career, hopefully back in Jaffrey he says. That will make for some fine personal relationships in the old cruiser don't you think?
While we are on the subject. If you want to save your community a ton of aggravation and some big money, pay attention to fire department volunteers as well.
You may have read recently about one Sean Mitchell the full time $75,000 per year Concord Assistant Chief and volunteer Webster Fire Chief who is charged with stealing town property and using credit cards to buy porn, etc. He is also under investigation regarding a rash of suspicious fires that began about the time as his entry into Webster. (Hint: That may be why no public employees are sticking up for him in case you have not noticed. And it may also explain why his trials and tribulations are not relegated to the Saturday editions of our larger papers only as most articles about public employees who get in trouble are.)
Yep! He started his public service career right here in my town back in 1988. Sort of.
His dad, then our police chief, was constantly being requested by our board of selectmen to have young 16 year old Sean stop driving the cruiser around town pulling people over.
Ah, local politics!